In his Oxford American article, "The DeZurik Sisters - Two Farm Girls Who Yodeled Their Way to the Grand Ole Opry," John Biguenet describes American yodeling during the period when the U.S. became an industrial nation, as "the perfect music to serve as threshold between a world that had already begun to disappear and the one that would replace it." He aptly describes the quavering yodel as "between" music—between word and sound, voice and instrument, man and woman, despair and exultation, adult and child, human and animal, civilization and nature. It's a perfect description of the almost indescribable.
Whatever your opinions on yodeling, you must admit that when expertly done, it's a form of vocal gymnastics that boggles the mind. And it's strangely soothing. Perhaps its origins, rooted in animal calls among farmers and herding folk, lie close to something deep inside that ties us to nature, as well as to the nature of language itself. I am in the mood for some yodeling now!
The DeZurik Sisters - Old Dan Tucker. The DeZuriks were sometimes billed as The Cackle Sisters, because they would integrate hen-clucking, among other animal sounds, in their music. That's how they did it down on the farm. According to Biguenet, they learned to sing at the family homestead in Minnesota by imitating the animals and birds therein.
Now that you've a taste of the DeZurik Sisters, you'll definitely want to hear their ode to yodeling, Arizona Yodeler.
A rare live-for-television performance of Hillbilly Bill on the "The Old American Barn Dance Show," 1953. (Only for the right speaker—pre-mono mono sound.)
Wanda Jackson - Cowboy Yodel. The cowboy in question has an annoying habit of yodeling while making love. By the 50s, yodeling is definitely not agrarian in scope anymore. And is there anything Wanda Jackson can't do?